Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shrine of the Sun ~ Tribute to Will Rogers and Wiley Post

At the top of Cheyenne Mountain, sits the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. To get there you drive through the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and up to the top of the mountain.

The Shrine has an entry gate with stone piers, an eighty foot high observation tower, looks like a fortress with a stone turret, and is built of 5,000 cubic yards of native Cheyenne Mountain gray-pink granite quarried from a single boulder. Anchored 28 feet into a solid rock buttress, the entire structure, void of nails or wood, is bound by 200,000 pounds of steel and some 30 wagon loads of cement. The elevation of the Shrine is 8,136 feet on the top deck, and provides spectacular views of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region.

Spencer Penrose, founder of the Broadmoor and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, along with a group of his associates from Colorado Springs formed the End of the Trail Association. The End of the Trail Association acquired property for the Shrine and began construction in December of 1934, and finished in 1937. The edifice's design was commissioned by Colorado Springs architect Charles E. Thomas, and at the time construction began the tower had yet to be named.

When his friend, Will Rogers was killed in a plane crash with Wiley Post, Penrose named the tower after Rogers. As you climb the tower, the rooms have photos and newspaper articles about Rogers and Post.

The Penrose's are interred in the chapel on the bottom floor.

This is an incredibly unique place and worth the visit if you are ever in Colorado Springs. The views are amazing and the history is not widely known.

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